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Aug 03 2013

Settling

Clearing out my drafts–from sometime in May, updated and edited. TW: ED for brief discussion of bingeing and depriving

Better

I’m sitting in the dark again. My bed is big and wide and green and it’s become my landing place. There’s a bowl on the desk to my left –the last remains of a meal I can call balanced. I need to take it to the kitchen. I need to take a shower and pair my socks and call the gas company and turn in the notes I wrote up and organize my planner and plan tomorrow’s meals. I need to nap, to vacuum, to go to the gym. To-do lists became overwhelming this week, so I started making lists of people I owed apologies.

I’m so sorry. I meant to finish it.

I haven’t moved for two hours.

The funny thing is, this is Better. This isn’t wanting to scream because the jeans hugged my hips. It isn’t spending weeks being repulsed by my own skin. It isn’t deciding that two handfuls of granola are lunch, an orange is dinner.

I eat at least two meals every day. I’ve maintained a healthy weight for most of my time at college. I can sit in class and not lose track of an hour, wrapped up in trying to figure out if my lap is bigger than the last time I looked.

But I won’t keep mirrors in my room. If you go walking with me, you’ll notice me turn away as we pass tall store-front windows. I’ll look up at you, engage with conversation more, smile at someone on the street. But I’ll try to avoid my reflection.

This doesn’t feel like Better.

-

I’m happy and it feels…fragile. I look for all the things that go wrong. A few panic attacks later, I revise fear of the unknown downwards enough to be manageable.

I don’t know how to trust being unhappy. It’s impossible and irrational to think that I will be happy for the rest of my life. But every time I notice boredom, lethargy, sadness, I fear it. What if this is the first sign? What if I can’t stop feeling this way?

I worry when I lose weight. Clothing’s looser than usual and suddenly I’m reviewing every meal. Did I skip last Tuesday’s lunch intentionally? I feel hungry, and I worry it’s the start of bingeing. If I eat, will I be able to stop? It’s a razor edge, this being healthy business.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    researchtobedone

    “I’m happy and it feels…fragile. I look for all the things that go wrong. A few panic attacks later, I revise fear of the unknown downwards enough to be manageable.
    I don’t know how to trust being unhappy. It’s impossible and irrational to think that I will be happy for the rest of my life. But every time I notice boredom, lethargy, sadness, I fear it. What if this is the first sign? What if I can’t stop feeling this way?”

    This resonates so incredibly strongly with me.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    This may not be something you need to hear now, but who knows who might. For many people, college is as challenging to mental illness as it gets. There is so much change, beginnings and endings and moving and shifting your perspective and people leaving and joining the social group you’re finally choosing on your own. There are so many people who expect you to fulfill various, conflicting roles. One person treats you like a child, and the next you meets wants to know why you’re not acting like a sober adult all the time. There is the lack of personal safety that comes from living, unsupervised, with people whose maturity level is not up to the task.

    Other things will happen later in life that will challenge you badly. They may be more than you can handle at that point, and you may need help. Sustained challenges like poverty, racism, illness, etc. are too much for a lot of people to handle on their own. But it’s unlikely that you will ever again be in a situation that challenges you nearly as often and in as many different ways in quick succession as you’re being challenged while you’re in college. Getting through this and improving as you do it is something that should give you a logical sense that you can do this, even when you don’t feel it.

    1. 2.1
      E

      “This may not be something you need to hear now, but who knows who might.”

      Me! Seriously, thank you. I’m gearing myself up to go back to school in a few weeks, and, well . . . I’m not really looking forward to it (at least not usually). I keep telling myself I can get through the year, just like I got through last year, but lately I’ve been feeling bad about aiming just to get through it, rather than have the time of my life or change the world or some such thing. You’ve really captured some of the reasons college has been so difficult for me, especially w/r/t to mental-health issues. Thanks, Stephanie.

      And Kate, I appreciate the post – I can relate, especially about the “razor’s edge” business. Sending virtual hugs and good wishes.

  3. 3
    ThorGoLucky

    I’m reminded of my anxious overly-self-aware days where I’d get so nervous to the point of vomiting. I’m so glad those days are over. May you find relative peace and contentment.

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